The film "Night of the Comet" (Atlantic Releasing Corporation, 1984) features lots of the El Rey at the beginning. It's directed by Thom Eberhardt and features Reggie (Katherine Mary Stewart) and her sister Samantha (Kelli Maroney) as two girls from the Valley who survive after a toxic comet wipes out most of the humans on earth. Here, the night of the comet's arrival, we're doing a special "Midnight Comet Show" at the theatre.
A lobby view -- we of course have special comet related concession items. If you want the thing that goes on your head with the two little silver balls on springs it's $9.50. Cheaper if you get the version without springs.
The manager is trying to get Reggie to walk the house to make sure the customers are not tearing up the seats. She'd rather play one of the lobby's video games. She says when she goes down the aisles they throw things at her. "Ever get hit by Dots or Milk Duds?" she asks. "They hurt."
Reggie goes up see her boyfriend Larry (Michael Bowen) in the booth. They plan a sleepover. She's worried somebody will see them. Won't happen, Larry says. Even Superman can't see through the steel covered walls. "Used to be a fire law," he adds. Reggie tells him that it was lead Superman couldn't see through, not steel.
Talking on the booth phone to her sister and mother.
The next morning in the booth. "Don't I even get an Egg McMuffin?" she asks.
But Larry's heading out the door looking for a friend he loaned a print to the night before. He heads out a side door to find the guy and gets hit with a pipe wrench and eaten by one of the zombie-like creatures that got enough of the comet dust to seriously change but aren't dead yet.
With Larry gone, it's back to the video game in the lobby. She isn't yet aware of his demise.
A look outside. Those piles of clothes? Humans that have turned to that brown dust nearby.
A closer look at the boxoffice. That sand urn propping open a door slides, allowing the door to close. She's locked out. Head to the alley.
Reggie tries the side door that Larry left by. Locked as well. She knows there's trouble when she finds the keys to Larry's cycle -- and the bloody pipe wrench. This alley shot we're lead to believe is adjacent to the theatre. But we're actually behind the KFWB building (now demolished) on Hollywood Blvd. That's the side of the Warner Hollywood (aka the Hollywood Pacific) straight ahead.
Another alley shot. After Reggie has a bit of a fight with the guy that ate Larry, she hops on the cycle and heads home. We're only 16 minutes into the film but that's the last we see of the El Rey. Sorry -- we don't even so much as peek into the theatre's auditorium. The film also features some fine shots of abandoned downtown L.A., mostly shot on Bunker Hill.
See our page on the El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd. for more on this theatre, a deco style house opened in 1937 that's now a music club.
On IMDb: "Night of the Comet"